Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, answered candidly during an interview about crypto’s prospects for the future. Among other criticisms, he stressed blockchain technology is mostly hype, and that bitcoin core (BTC) is controlled by Chinese miners and has no hope of being a world currency.
Ripple CEO Bashes Bitcoin
Attendees of the 2018 Stifel Cross Sector Insight Conference in Boston yesterday were probably expecting to learn more about Ripple, the world’s third most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization. After all, none other than company CEO Brad Garlinghouse was guest of honor for an interview with Stifel Tech analyst Lee Simpson. And while Ripple certainly was the hot topic, Mr. Garlinghouse also took the opportunity to bash its main decentralized competitor, bitcoin core (BTC).
“A number of prominent people,” Mr. Garlinghouse explained, “even Steve Wozniak, has said that he sees a world where Bitcoin is the primary currency. I think that’s absurd. I don’t think that any major economy will allow that to happen. By the way, it doesn’t make sense.” Indeed Woz has said as much, and has Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who predicted it would happen within the decade.
Brad Garlinghouse, 47, has held his present position since 2015. His professional background is almost all technology related. Stints with Yahoo!, AOL, working in the investment arena with the likes of Silver Lake Partners, @Ventures, @Home Network, SBC Communications, all round out his experience prior to Ripple.
His views about BTC and its eventual influence have found him very quotable of late, especially this month. He’s spent a great deal of time attempting to separate the coin aspect of Ripple (XRP) from the company itself, and this has lead to some interesting juxtapositioning in his method of argument.
BTC Blockchain Not Disruptive, Chinese in Control
During the Boston interview, he even took on the sacred cow of the corporate world, BTC’s distributed ledger technology. “There’s a lot of blockchain craziness, but there are three indicators of market winners. Blockchain will not disrupt banks […] it will play an important role in the way our system works. It’s a short-sighted view […]. Bitcoin is not the panacea we thought it would be.”
Mr. Garlinghouse then compared XRP to BTC. “This is how liquidity will be managed in the future. Bitcoin today takes 45 minutes to settle a transaction. Banks will use what is efficient and cheaper. And if you deliver a better product at a better price… hey will use it.”
An under-reported story, Ripple’s CEO insisted, is how BTC is “owned by China.” He noted, “The smartest thing you’ve done is not have ‘bit’ or ‘coin’ in your name. I’ll tell you another story that is underreported, but worth paying attention to. Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin. How do we know that China won’t intervene? How many countries want to use a Chinese-controlled currency? It’s just not going to happen.”
Lastly, he assured, “I own bitcoin. Many people consider it as digital gold. I acknowledge, I’m long crypto. I’d advise folks to only invest in crypto only what you’re willing to lose. It’s early to tell how it is going to play out. I think it’s a pretty good investing strategy. I don’t think about the digital asset market. I think about the customer experience. There are millions unbanked or underbanked. When I think about the transformation, it is fundamentally changing the way millions participate in banking. We can fundamentally change the way this works, to bring an entire population up a step in the system.”